Who remembers the game Mother May I? By simply asking this polite little question, the “Mother” of the game would allow her “children” to take baby steps, giant steps, even sideways steps in an attempt to get to the front of the room and win the opportunity to be Mom.
But is being Mom really “winning”? Even in the Charlie Sheen sense of the word? And what’s better? Having Tiger Blood or being a Tiger Mom who controls every step her babies take? It’s hard to know whether or not to let our kids take steps big or little or even those ones that careen off sideways or diagonally (“No, sweetie, I don’t think building a own bike ramp out of Dad’s snowboard was a good idea.”). Sometimes we just have to let them think they’re moving upwards and onwards, while we continue to protect their interests and still forming skulls. Here’s a handy guide I put together which might help you sort through the May-I-Maybe-Maybe Not decisions, which will make them think they’re going one step forward, instead of two steps back:
- May I just eat dessert? Of course! Oh, you mean today? No. But when you’re an adult and every spoonful of pudding goes straight to your thighs, as long as you have your stretchy pants on , go ahead!
- May I not wear a helmet? Absolutely! But wait are you going to ride your bike? Then yes. I thought you meant in order to get past your tantruming brother in the front hallway. He’s only three feet tall so his fists can’t reach your head. You’re good there.
- May I wear this to school? Why not? Oh shoot. I just remembered. We forgot to send your enrolment into the Royal Academy for Stains and Crud so that uniform just isn’t going to work at regular school I’m afraid.
- May I punch my brother? I would! In fact, I often did. Have I ever shown you the cute scar he gave me on “Now I’m Bigger Than My Sister Day”?
- May I borrow your smartphone? Here you go. I’ll just kill time on your Facebook page here. That I have access to. Always have. Always will. What, done already?
- May I stay up late? Yes. In fact, let’s all stay up late. It’s about time we figured out trigonometry as a family. Honey, you get the slide rules and I’ll get the timer.
- May I get down from the dinner table? You can not only get down from it, you can take all the dishes with you. They want to “get down” with the dishwasher.
- May I skip visiting Granny? Not a chance. We’re all in this one together. (I can only go so far with these.)
Kathy Buckworth’s latest book, “Shut Up and Eat: Tales of Chicken, Children and Chardonnay” is available everywhere. Read “Funny Mummy” every month. Visit www.kathybuckworth.com and follow Kathy on twitter at www.twitter.com/kathybuckworth